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The waiting game

New funding for 24-hour care for the frail and elderly 'unlikely', says health minister

It is unlikely there will be any new funding in the GP contract to fund GPs co-ordinating 24-hour care of the frail and elderly, a health minister has confirmed.

Earlier this month health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that the GP contract will change to include a responsibility for practices to provide a ‘named GP’ responsible for co-ordinating all the out-of-hospital care for vulnerable older people from next year.

But health minister Dr Dan Poulter, said there was unlikely to be any new money in next year’s GP contract to fund this work.

He said: ‘It’s unlikely there’ll be any new money in the GP contract for that. I think with the GP contract it’s about how the money is used. As the contract works through money will be used in different ways. There’s outcome-based measures, which is the process we’ve started already with this year’s contract negotiations.’

He added that looking at GPs working hours would be a priority for Professor Steve Field, the new chief inspector of primary care.

He said: ‘I’m a hospital doctor as you know and there is a challenge there. Hospital doctors work evenings. We’ve got to look at [GPs’] working hours. Steve Field said what does good care look like in terms of providing care. And he will have a role in that as chief inspector of general practice. It’s about how we focus resources on vulnerable old people.’

Professor Field said yesterday that he would ‘not hesitate at all’ to order the closure of GP practices that provides poor access.

Readers' comments (12)

  • hospital doctors work evenings for good reasons - patients 'live' in hospitals. However, skeleton staff at night mean that only emergencies can be dealt with. Is Dan suggesting that routine ops be carried out well into the evening and night? I think not! For general practice emergencies, there exists out of hours. Our one is perfectly good. What exactly is his logical argument here. Seems to be lacking one completely?

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  • EUROPEAN DIRECTIVE OF WORKING HOURS FOR HOSPITAL DOCTORS. WHAT ABOUT SUCH DIRECTIVE FOR GP'S??. work round the clock breaking eu directive and do not ask for money. how do you expect gp's to react to this sir??? remember there are small practices and single handed practices in the country and they are regarded best by patients.

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  • poor hospital doctor having to work evenings. I am certain that your contract allows you to have a planned working week- ask any GP what their week involves and I fear your will find it difficult to accept. A GP partner has a myriad of paperwork to complete and a wide range of issues, increased work from secondaty care- ie you withy the incessant whinning that hospitals are under funded. We stay until the end.
    I serioulsy worry about the 'NHS' now. Previoulsy there was almost a direction of travel visible but now it depends on VOTE winning. Noth really anything to do with patient care. Tell the public what they can get free if you are in power.
    I have no concerns about opening up for patients who cannot get appointments during week. As long as these surgeries are for those patients alone and not for the massess who dont have anything welse to do other than get an appt with a vague illness to add to the claim for DLA or IB.
    8-8 7/365 and available 24/7 to advise on frail elderly- I ask you . Have any of you actually looked at what you feel approproate to offer the public. I think the pcomments of working smarter and in a more innovative way have worn thin !!
    just another GP reaching retirement and happy to leave the mess behind .
    I feel it was a priviledge to work in NHS when it was not micromanaged , cash starved and burdoned with ever increasing patient expectations. Do not know where you are going to get the doctors to provide this mythical service.
    Also think that patients having direct access to specialist services and consultants -as propised by labour would be brilliant. I predict the whole system would CRASH in days

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  • Keep going Dan, just remember the more you stretch primary care , the less protection you in secondary care will have. This is almost certainly goig to result in you getting more and more busy !!

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  • BEING available to elderly patients who are ill does not make them better. medical science has limits. these sort of changes will bring torys votes and feel good factor to patients but outcome will be same. it will just make gp's life miserable. if they pay more money then newspaper will say gp's are earning more then prime minister..

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  • Vinci Ho

    Is this a slap on the face of RCGP chair because she said this could only be done with more funding?
    But then are they supposed in the same league???

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  • "Unlikely" is over-stating it, I suspect

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  • Dan - you are a junior doctor bound by ETD !
    How can you say that because hospital doctors work nights that that is the same for GPs

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  • Dr Dan is clearly following in Uncle Jeremy's footsteps... despite his profession he displays a remarkable lack of understanding of the issues involved. Should have a great future in politics!!

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  • Working with you not possible

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